Councillor condemns US marijuana laws
Monday, 6th January, 2014
By Nick Gibbs
Broken Hill Councillor Jim Richards has condemned the US state of Colorado’s move to legalise the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes.
Clr Richards said that his work with young people in the city has allowed him to see first-hand the problems caused by the drug.
“I’ve seen the affects that alcohol and marijuana have on young people,” he said.
“It can lead to paranoia and eventually things like depression and anxiety disorders.
“I would say it’s quite prominent in Broken Hill and it causes a lot of problems.”
The main argument for legalisation centres on an increase in government revenue through taxation, with the aim of reducing profits for drug dealers and criminal gangs.
But Clr Richards said that this was a dangerous step because heads of state were effectively telling the community that these drugs were OK to use.
“The increase in tax revenue will lead to an equal increase in social cost,” he said.
Clr Richards also said further problems with the new legislation might only become apparent later.
“In Colorado, marijuana is not just being sold on its own. Candy and chocolate bars are being laced with the drug and guess who that appeals to? Kids,” he said.
The new laws allow cannabis and products containing the active chemical THC to be sold under regulatory conditions similar to alcohol.
Colorado residents over the age of 21 are able to buy as much as an ounce while visitors from out of the state can buy up to a quarter of an ounce to use during their stay.
The smoking of cannabis is still prohibited in public places, and may only be used on private property with the permission of the owner.